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Barab I & the Stone That Burns (CIS: Lightsaber Crystal & Construction)

Ginnie Dib

Rise and Rise Again
The blade was alive. In her dreams, the petulant Mando'ade saw a blade unlike her brothers' blades, unlike many she'd seen. To her was given a slim imagination of fire. Fire and light burning, ever burning, always burning deep in her heart where she kept her most secret, most precious images. The blade, her blade was to be alive.

It'd taken less cajoling than she thought to get someone from Isley's wealth of influence to bring her to Barab I. Not much for books, it had taken weeks for Ginnie to knuckle down and look through archives she figured Isley didn't necessarily want her to see. When she found the right kind of scientists, the peppy child spun many yarns of adventure and thickets of radiated crystals for study and use. She'd even come too, you know, to improve her knowledge of science and education. She'd come to protect them, too in case anything went bump in the light. They'd laughed but there - that inner push - that hand on her hip as she leaned forward on her tip-toes. Let me try she seemed to say, and who would say no to trying?

Wouldn't he be proud? Wouldn't he be surprised, when the baby of the Clan Verd built herself a lightsaber. The other Templar Aspirants had to build them, why not her? Quiet as the grave she'd been when she rooted through @[member="Siqa"]'s data pad for the information on lightsaber construction. Most of it was complete and utter gibberish, but Ginnie remembered the night her brother brought her out from under the bed and held her, taught her the first of many lessons on the Force.

It was a tool, like her blaster carbine and her armour. An extension, and a mighty one at that, but still a weapon. Ginnie'd been repairing, cleaning and rebuilding her own weapons since she was seven. Why was it always the fire that brought Ginnie to the edge of all childish things? As Ginnie sat in the land skiff on Barab I, she twiddled her thumbs as the scientist and his assistant suited up to defend themselves against the radiation known on the planet surface. Her mind wandered, as childish minds do:

She'd turned seven three days before. Ecstatic that her birthday presents included a trip to the blaster range, the child had washed up and packed her backpack with everything she thought she'd need. A stuffed dragon's head and shoulders poked out of the main pocket, jangling in tandem with the brand new gun belt she'd gotten. It rattled on her hips, even cinched as tightly, it would be years before the thing fit. Long lasting as always was Clan Verd. The child watched wide-eyed and standing pretty as Daddy taught her about the different blasters and guns, grenade launchers and rockets. She'd get to use a blaster or two today, and once they found the one that fit she'd have her first battle-worthy projectile weapon. An honour, a rite of passage.

In the excitement, Ginnie forgot to tie her boot laces. She hadn't meant to trip! Hadn't meant to find herself in a narrow ammo closet with her Mom, when her fingers lashed out for anything to hold onto. It wasn't her fault the firing range had left a few grenades outside their lock boxes, how easy her finger twisted around the pin, how easy it came loose in her hand as she fell to the floor, how easy the grenade rolled away. Ginnie looked up and screamed, "Mommy!"

And pushed her mother out the ammo closet door. Her mother's voice was the last thing she heard beyond the sudden popping conflagration that slammed her tiny body against the locking closet door. Shut in, the pressure had nowhere to go, carving the ceiling up in its attempt to filter out. The whole world spun in tendrils of fire - orange, yellow, red, white. The colours of the spring sun, warm and inviting. Ginnie hid herself in a blaster rifle trunk, the ringing - the ringing snuffing out any roar of flame from her bleeding ears.

Daddy's crushgaunt yanked the armoured door off its hinges, fire compressor in his hand making the garden of colour disappear. Mommy yanked her out of her hiding spot, pulled her to the medics, her mouth moved, all their mouths moved. Where did the sound go?

"Miss Verd!" The scientist looked kindly down on the pink armoured Mando and nodded. "Suit up. I found one that'll fit over your Beskar'gam. We're ready." Ginnie broke out of her daydream and jumped up and out.

Maybe that was why it had always been fire for Ginnie Verd. When she was searching the database for kinds of crystals people used in their lightsabers, the Barab Ingot caught her eye. A lightsaber that burned nearly to the point of dissolution, that left its firey mark on whatever it effected? Yes, Ginnie would have a lightsaber made of fire. "So how're we gonna find a Barab Ore Ingot in all this?"

She asked, once her HUD had accounted for the amount of radiant light in the fields of Barab I. "Oh Drew, look at those readings! Over here, this crystal seems to be ... I could use a sample."

"Hellooooo. Sciencey people? How do I find my crystal? They all look the same to me!" Even with her Helmet's diagnostics systems running, she couldn't see a visible difference. The scientists bustled around, all but ignoring her for a 'later, later'. The child walked off from the ship and kicked at the ground. A whisper of the wind siphoned through the augmented auditory receptors built into her Beskar'gam. Ginnie turned her head and from the angle she couldn't see anyone, but for the ship.

Alone, in a world filled. Ginnie bent down on her haunches, brushed her fingers along the ground. "Sure are pretty. All these colours and stones..." After the Incident, Isley had given his Baby Sister a tuning fork while she laid in her hospital biobed. Odd gift for a deaf girl, she'd whined and threw it aside, but oh how patient her brother dear, who brought it back, whacked it on the side of her bedside table and put the bottom end to Ginnie's outstretched palm. The sound. She could feel the vibrations flooding her skin! He whacked it again and stuck it on the biobed's metal surface and Ginnie discovered resonance. She squealed, clinging to the tuning fork like a drowning man's lifeline and slept with it clutched in her hand, tucked under her pillow.

Sound hadn't left her, she would learn in time to feel certain vibrations, to read lips and sign. The memory came as the dreams came - in bursts of golden colour, oranges, yellows, crisp reds across her mind's eyes. Flashes of prescience as her meagre mind connected the dots with crayons. Ginnie closed her eyes, and listened.

Reaching into her augmented audio receptors, she sent frequency bursts of noise outward, and listened. Again and again Ginnie shut her eyes, sent out bursts of different noises out and listened. The plains fell dull until by coincidence Ginnie sent out the frequency of a small child crying out to her mother, and the valley filled with noise. Ginnie's eyes snapped open. She sent the small burst again, and again was granted an echo. Wouldn't Isley be proud? Ginnie tore off in search of the origin point, digging with her gloves in the irradiated dirt until a small collection of dirty stones pulled up from the ground.

Ginnie held them in her gloved hands, wiped them off as best she could and made the frequency burst again. One of the crystals glowed to her eyes. She stared at it, running her gloved thumb across it as in her imagination she found fire locked inside. She tossed the others and brought that one with her back to the Scientists. "Miss Verd, we're done here isn't there something you wanted? A memento of our trip? You did your job well, Lady Protector." The Scientist brought out a small bag of crystals and stones, all of them a fantastic array of colours chosen by an adult thinking the child wanted pretty things to lock away behind glass.

"Thanks! I learned a lot, you guys're great! I like science!" It seemed to be the best vote of gratitude the Scientist and his assistant had heard in a while. Back on board the small shuttle, they doffed their suits and Ginnie made a game of lining her stones and gems (most useless, merely pretty) in different maze-like shapes. Her crystal, her fire crystal in the middle always. She would take it to Castle Ne'tra, build it under secrecy of night, or whenever @[member="Darth Metus"] wasn't around. It would work! It had to work.

The blade would burn with fire.

Ginnie Dib

Rise and Rise Again
Castle Ne'tra was asleep. Ginnie had found that there were too many rooms for Isley to check them all, and had some of the service droids help her move a tiny work area into her bedroom. After all, every good little Mando'ade needed to take proper care of their Beskar'gam and gear. Isley would be so proud, once he saw the work his little sister put into their culture and ways. He'd be proud when she showed him what she worked on, but only when it was finished.

Only when it was done. And then? Well, maybe she'd surprise him. Bring it into battle, or training. Whatever she did, it had to start somewhere. Gathering the tools for her work station was as easy as sneaking around and yanking extras. The equipment for her Lightsaber was much harder to procure. From what she'd gleaned, she needed the crystal, the lens, the power source, the casing, the wires and bits and thingies and bobs and .... Ginnie flumped onto her bed. "Why me? Why don't they have an idiot's edition of How to Build a Saber!?" She whined, got herself a snack and some popcorn and munched on it through a holomovie.

Two days later she came back to the schematic. "Okay! You! You plan thingy. This is about you and me coming to an understanding. I'm not book smart, kay? I got no easy peasy threesy way of getting what I want outa you so you've got to help me out. I mean it!" Stamping her foot on the ground, she stared at the schematic for its' answer, and eventually got out some paper and pencil crayons. Ginnie started drawing out every piece she saw, and then began to place what she had around the pictures. The Barab Ingot came first, humming as it usually did in her imaginative mind. Her big break came when she spent time on the Sanctum with other Templar Aspirants. They'd mentioned holovids, meditations, Ginnie lept for it. When she felt they weren't watching, she snuck into the Archives and started downloading everything she could find. Surrepticiously she stalked the holovid library, knowing full well all these areas were open to all Templars.

Still, the sneaking was fun!

Once she'd gotten holovids and more popcorn, Ginnie plunked herself down in her bedroom and called them up. There were duels played out in history's eyes, all useful and cool, but the one Ginnie played over and over again was one they'd found from Chandaar.

A man in white sat in meditative repose, his lightsaber on the ground before him. Eyes closed, hands lax on his thighs. The lightsaber lifted, drifted into the air in front of him and began to slowly, ever slowly come apart. Each component and mechanism detached and drifted in a pattern that danced as if it had been in an ocean's current. The crystals inside shone a glorious silver-white, bathing the area in refractions of waves. The pieces began to quiver, one at a time coming together. Crystals first, then wires and conduits, field energizers, energy modulation circuits, power sources, insulations, the case. As the saber came together, it melded into his hand a perfect unit. The man rose - no such movement could be so graceful beyond the fact the man floated up, no one could move that well, could they? He rose and silver eyes glistened as with a flick of his thumb the saber came to life and danced in his hand. Blade and wielder were one, one weapon, one silver sentinel in the drifting current of the Force.

Ginnie watched the holovid until her eyes burned, until the imprint had placed itself in her brain. A thought came to her, as she played another holovid: She'd never been that graceful. The man moved as if his very step was speaking, as if he had no need for voice or sentimental noise to make his presence and point known. In her mind, he'd left this there for her - regardless that it was from a personal collection, that it was downloaded from some guy with white hair, Echani or such. The man in the video had made it for many gazes, many eyes over and over, and now to her it had been given. Ginnie felt a lightness enter her chest, she gasped and sang out hopping on her bed and down to the floor with a lilt to her step. She fell many times, replaying the holovid and trying to mimic his every quarter, his every move.

It didn't come, but what did come was clarity. Ginnie Verd couldn't be Isley she couldn't be her mother, or her brothers or the man in the holovid putting his lightsaber together with his mind. The man looked at the holocam with a deep seeded acceptance of the eyes on the other end. An honest appreciation for himself and the life he held in his hand, for Ginnie got the feeling the crystal itself was alive. Dancing, and alive. His blade lived as he lived, it struck firm with his effortless heart and bled the purity and focus he poured through his veins. How it was that Ginnie's life could be so different she couldn't tell, as a child she thought and felt like a child. Her universe still kept herself at its centre. The man could float the pieces with his mind, lift them with anti-gravity, a lightness of bearings that bespoke not of a lack of tragedy around the man but a current which turned the pain of past ills into a braided cord - resolution. Strength. Ginnie found more holovids with the man in white, some he had two lightsabers: One silver, one red bladed and in each was a different bearing.

His message shifted, his language changed when he had the red one in his hands. Feet more steady, lingering on the ground in a way his dancing strides demeaned with the silver lightsaber. Still, with the red one came still. The stillness and guteral force of each stroke and peppering strike hit Ginnie in the chest with pain. Suffering. Even the Man in White had been afraid. Ginnie decided she didn't like the red lightsaber, she didn't like how he moved with it, as if he too thought it was a flagrant near-sin. She watched and watched, and as her mind clicked with the verb-less Echani's historical footage, she began to piece together her own blade.

The pieces were bought - Isley gave her an allowance and she saved it up! Did chores for people in the Confederacy to gain little bits more, she found an ancient Mandalorian who fashioned her the casing out of their strong iron - a moving form to fit her hand. She left the metal unpolished - the rough edges adzed smooth enough not to cut her, but marked and marred by the blacksmith's process. After all, she only had so much money and the blacksmith had been kind enough to fashion her casing out of the slag from the Fallen. Pieces knit together from armour that had taken too much, that hadn't saved its wearer. She would instil honour into her creation. The power source came next, easily bought from the Templars along with the necessary coils, wires and channels. As an aspirant, she had the right. The privilege.

Putting it together created a couple of near misses. Sparks flew, and once or twice she had to beat out some sprigs of flame from her carpet. How she'd explain that she'd yet to figure out. Piece by piece, following the instructions she'd highlighted, pieced together, crossed out, watched the holovid for Ginnie Verd constructed her first Lightsaber. The gunmetal grey handle fit her palm a little large, but this had to last her! It was clumsy at first, timid and daunted Ginnie refused to turn it on, returning to the holovids to watch how he put his hand to it, wound his fingers around it. Ginnie slapped her own forehead when she realized her biggest mistake. Putting her armour on, Ginnie grabbed the lightsaber with her gloved hands.

To say it fit would be an insult to the craftsman who formed her casing. It was a glorious perfection, battered and marred, stroked with places where the oils and froths of the smelting process had tarnished what could glow, what could shine, what was as good as Ginnie could figure, the best possible beginning. In her hands the hilt found its centre point and the girl stood tall. She swung it around her bedroom, still fearing the ignition, the dials. Could she conquer the flame, suck it inward as the Man in White sucked his pain and released it - holy and forgiven - back into the glistening realms of her near-adolescent dreams?

Sneaking to the bowels of Castle Ne'tra, Ginnie found her answer. Isley said the place was built on a Sith Temple, and downward to those old ruins Ginnie tromped, nothing but a service droid and her armour to keep her company. She found in the bowels of that place a corridor, little more than a hallway, yet it fit. Oh yes, it fit. The ruined wall blocked off its exit point, and Ginnie sat in the middle of the dead end. The size was right, the breeze had died so any fire would be contained, as once her grenade fire had been contained until Daddy came and saved her. After Rigard died, Daddy didn't save anyone anymore. Daddy didn't save Isley, he didn't save Mom's emotions or any of them. Daddy was a husk, like the building around her, and oh how it was not lost on the child that her brother had built a new life atop the old barren depths of their beginnings. "It's like this, Yoash. I'm naming you Yoash. After fire. Hope you don't mind, but it fits and I don't think you have a mind like I have a mind, so shush. I got hurt, and Daddy was sorry, but it meant I didn't get to learn like the other kids learned. Sure, Mommy took me places, I got gifts and I got to learn how to shoot and fight, but I didn't get to play. Not really. Not once Isley left. Not once Rigard died. There's a host of battles that I've got to be prepared to fight, and if I can't prepare myself there ain't nobody who can do it for me. Daddy said so, 'life's hard Ginnie and for you it's going to be lonely. Harder. Get used to it, and buck up.' I'm getting used to it, but Daddy was wrong. I'm never going to be lonely."

Ginnie stood up, lightsaber in her hands. Facing the dank closed off corridor, she depressed the ignition and the blade burst forth. It flickered and sputtered, died. She opened up the casing, finicked with a few modules, changed the blade power and put it together. She shut her eyes and listened for the whisper of wind she heard on Barab I that, if she were honest, she heard in her dreams and on her travels. That tiny whisper was resonant and absolute, it guided and charged her. Condemned her. Fed her utter determination to find her brother and rescue him.

Ginnie listened for the whisper, shifted the angle, the blade power and depressed the ignition. The hallway exploded with light. Flickers of yellow came off the blade and the Aspirant flicked her wrist, tapping the weightless blade on a rock - little more than rubble. It flickered with licks of flame, she raised the blade up and slammed it down harder. The rock gave way, spitting with flame. The flames died quickly in this asphyxiating place, and Ginnie Verd shut the lightsaber off. "We're in this together, you hear? We're gonna save Isley, and Adamus and all of them. All of ours. But for now I think I'm gonna keep you to myself. After all, Isley doesn't get back for a couple of days and it's dinnertime!

Spaghetti night!" The child rushed away from the gloomy place, hearing the service droid trundling after her, and hid the lightsaber in a box under her bed.